Monday, 15 August 2011
A melancholy welcome back
It’s been hard to know what to put in this first post after the summer hiatus. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that Norway was hit by an instance of terrorism, the worst act of violence in this country since World War II.
The terrorist from Utøya is a megalomaniac, interested in bizarre ideas and obsessed with European style and European culture. In other words: superficially so similar to us here at the Chronicles that to make us very uncomfortable. This nearly made us kill off the Lord Bassington-Bassington Chronicles altogether. Things that were fun on July 21st feel less fun now.
But then again: If terrorists manage to make us queasy about what we love, then the monsters have won. And we refuse to let terrorists win.
Norway feels different now. There’s a new respect among citizens, a new community among people who have different ways of being Norwegian. Some of this will pass, like the roses that still adorn Oslo but are in advanced stages of decay. But some of this community will be indelible. Nations are forged in tragedy. This is one of the experiences that will forever be a part of what it means to be a Norwegian.
Once the shock that the acts were not perpetrated by Islamists had passed, it made a lot of sense. As anyone with any insight into the Norwegian far right will know, they are pretty much useless at organizing, writing, recruiting, debating or doing things that normally go with political activity. What they are quite good at, though, is murdering defenceless kids. Whether these kids themselves help far right groups, as the victims of the 1981 Hadeland killings, or happen to have a skin tone not to the liking of the far right, like Benjamin Hermansen, seems to make little difference. And let’s not even begin to discuss the sexual proclivities of some of these far right leaders. Any young person the far right has access to seem to be at risk.
This murder of Norway’s youth by the far right was the third instance in the last decades. It is the responsibility of every Norwegian to make sure there won’t be a fourth time. This we know, even if we are still unsure about what this will mean in practice.
But to begin with, we'll just welcome you back to the Lord Bassington-Bassington Chronicles.